What Are You Hungry For? An Interview With Katie Gutierrez
In her debut novel “More Than You’ll Ever Know,” Gutierrez dissects how desire — for stories, for danger, for sex, for stability — shapes our lives
Many journalists know the score. We stumble upon a small piece of information, perhaps something others have seen and deemed insignificant, and become fixated, determined to uncover the truth lying in the muck and expose it to everyone: see what you missed, you idiots? see what was right beneath your feet? In my experience, there is usually something personal, though maybe not consciously acknowledged, that leads us to obsess on a particular story.
This journalistic obsession is a real-life cliche that translates well to crime novels, or at least it translates relatively easily, which is why this narrative structure can be seen throughout crime novel history. The dogged reporter, with an admirable quest for truth that becomes dangerous, that hides something festering and sick inside him. In her debut novel, More Than You’ll Ever Know, Texas-based journalist Katie Guttierez carefully teases apart this trope, subtly revealing the confused sense of morality that leads a journalist to ignore the ramifications of their own actions in pursuit of anothers’ perceived wrong. The journalist is not the hero, the way she often is in novels that follow the reporter-as-truth-seeker structure; nor is she the stale and devious tabloid journalist villain, crafted as an unfortunate (in my opinion — but I’m biased) stand-in for corrupt institutions that privilege their own interests over the people they’re meant to serve.
In Guttierez’s novel, true crime blogger Cassie Bowman is just a person sitting on a heap of bad memories, intent on uncovering the misdeeds of another woman — if only so she can distract herself from her own ongoing failures. While trudging through another shift blogging for an Oxygen-esque website H2O for $15 an hour, Cassie stumbles upon an unusual story: that of a woman, Lore Rivera, who decades earlier secretly married two men, one of whom was found murdered not long after. Cassie is hooked. It’s not the usual stupid-evil-asshole-kills-his-wife/girlfriend story, but in fact appears to — possibly — be the opposite. Though one…